In today’s post we hear from the beauty products company, Naturally Me, on why a Microsoft cloud productivity solution was the best choice for their growing business!
“We tried to use Google Docs, but it didn’t work reliably and often skewed the formatting.”
–Tamara Walker, Public Relations Consultant for Naturally Me
US-based Naturally Me makes luxury body care products that the average, working woman can afford. It all started when Chaundra Smith had trouble finding products to soothe her daughter’s skin irritation. Three years later, through perseverance and hard work, Naturally Me has grown into a vibrant business.
Naturally Me sells its products directly through its website; through consultants who sell at in-home demonstration parties; and through boutiques, spas, and other vendors. Chaundra Smith, the company’s founder and product developer, has a store in Durham, North Carolina, and a space where she creates products, and packages them for shipping. The company includes an Illinois–based salesperson, three sales consultants across North Carolina, and a public relations consultant in New York.
All six women need to communicate regularly to discuss new products, establish marketing strategies, and exchange best practices. To collaborate on promotional materials and set up meetings and tradeshow activities, Smith and her public relations consultant either used email or mailed paper copies of large documents to each other. The company tried to use Google Docs, but it didn’t work reliably and often skewed the formatting. — Watch the video.
IT Solution and Benefits
Naturally Me took a big step toward technology sophistication when Smith discovered Microsoft Office 365 in June 2011. After evaluating the service herself, Smith extended the collection of email, calendaring, collaboration, and conferencing services to employees in September 2011. According to Smith, “Being a small company our budget is modest, but Office 365 gives us capabilities we never could have fathomed before.” Everyone at the company now relies on Office 365 for email—including access through smartphones, portable computers, and other mobile devices—and for shared calendaring through Microsoft Exchange Online.
Naturally Me now has the tools to help run the business more efficiently and sell to a wider audience. They also found they no longer waste time dealing with version-control issues because they track revisions in SharePoint Online.
Naturally Me saves money in a variety of areas by using Office 365. For example, Smith plans to use SharePoint Online to run a website for the community service branch of her business. The company indicated they will save nearly $1,000 in web design and outside hosting fees by using SharePoint Online to set up the website.
Smith anticipates that Office 365 will foster business growth because the company can use Lync Online to host virtual, “face-to-face” meetings with potential international vendors, who just need to download and install the Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendee client. They also appear as a larger company, with personalized email domain names, shared storage space, and web conferencing that adds credibility and helps Naturally Me compete.